Synonyms and Pumpkin Pie

I sat down at my computer this morning, cup of coffee in hand, intent on writing a motivational(ish) Thanksgiving-related post. I even began with a Google search for: Thanksgiving Quotes, saving a few aesthetically pleasing images to my desktop. But, I opened this document to begin typing and, I’m not going to lie…it felt fake. Forced. And, the most important thing to me, as far as this blog is concerned, is authenticity. 

I am an appreciator. Honestly, I think it is in the marrow of my bones. I appreciate everything: a smile from a stranger I pass repeatedly in the grocery store because we are walking opposite, but the same, paths, a kind word left on a post-it note, the simple piano melody of Clair de Lune (my favorite song), the way lobster bisque, sourdough bread, and a dry red wine create the absolute perfect flavor combination (this is fact, and you cannot change my mind). 

I am pretty sure any thesaurus would list appreciative as a synonym for thankful–two combinations of letters to be used interchangeably. But, that’s like a sixth grader writing: I walked outside to find the sun shining and it felt prodigious. *Insert mini-lesson on the nuances of the English language, and why, just because prodigious is listed as a synonym for amazing (and you’ve already used amazing in your story thirteen times), we can’t just pick it because it “sounds the fanciest”. 

With the onslaught of motivational posts as I scrolled through Facebook this morning, I realized that appreciative and thankful, though not quite as divergent as amazing and prodigious, are not always synonymous. 

Sometimes being thankful is complicated. And, I think that’s okay. This isn’t to say I am not grateful for the life I have. I am. Unquestionably. But sometimes, that which is immediately in front of us casts such a large shadow, it makes it hard to see anything else. And sometimes the beginning of a shadowy journey falls at the time of year that “being thankful” (and even more so–being publicly thankful on social media) is apropos. The holidays seem to be a subliminal reminder that family is everything. I am incredibly lucky to have one of the best. But also…I want one of my own. And honestly, the holiday season can make it hard to think of little else. 

Fertility drugs don’t play. I have had a headache that hasn’t taken a break in two solid weeks. Most nights, when I am trying to fall asleep, I get what I can only describe as restless legs…of my entire body. These are just a few of the physical by-products of the (hopefully) miraculous medicines. I’ll admit, they are not the worst side effects I could possibly have, and the more difficult ones are undoubtedly mental and emotional. Even those are, by no means, permanent roadblocks to my thanksgiving. But, they’re there. And, in the spirit of candid authenticity, I can’t pretend they’re not. 

I am not so naive to assume that infertility is the only cause of holiday stress. So, I am writing today to say this: if being publicly thankful feels like a prodigious feat (see what I did there?) for you, for whatever reason. I see you. That doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate a cheesy casserole and a slice of pumpkin pie together. Cheers. 

(eleven. twenty-four. twenty twenty-one)

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